Written by: Dave Landry
Business to business (B2B) marketing has become a major social media trend the last few years that marketing and business leaders simply cannot ignore. In the world of information technology, it’s easy to get lost amidst a steady stream of advertisements. This presents a dilemma for many business leaders: how does one stand out among all the Internet traffic, by becoming Internet traffic?
Google has set the stage for the only possible complete online presence, by integrating Google+ as a social media platform and search engine. The social media aspect will help to determine the rankings and display results on the Google Search feature. (Google performs approximately 5.9 Billion – yes, with a B, no it’s not a typo – searches per day).
In addition, Google+ provides a ranking system for their social media, dependent upon user’s uploaded content. This creates an influencer loop, where the content posted by a company develops followers – who in turn share that content. The higher they rank and share, the higher your company will rank – and in turn climb up the Google search engine ladder.
Getting started is easy, and only requires a user (either company or individual) to create an account. Next, creating a hovercard (think of it as a Google+ version of a business card) is very straightforward, and will show during most of your Google+ activity. Authorship is what will ultimately enhance your rankings and enable your Google search results to display higher, as well as lend credibility and establish your business as a subject matter expert.
Mere activity on Google+ serves little purpose if it isn’t targeted. The most effective means to create a following is to engage others, find “influencers,” join and create circles, and share pertinent content. Content is important because it’s the metaphorical digital diet; it’s the substance of online content.
Content, therefore, should begin at around 80% entertaining, compared to 20% collectively of industry trends or news, sales, and promotions. After your company has developed a substantial following, this should be increased to 50/50. Another benefit of Google+ updates is, unlike other platforms, Google+ allows you to use different characteristics in text-ike italics, font, and bold to further develop your message.
After your marketing team has developed a substantial following, it is imperative that businesses maintain a high level of involvement and engagement. Share content 2-3 times per day. Historically, posts around the workday schedule have fared the best results. For example, a post at 9 AM, 1 PM and 5 PM will have the highest ratings. Also, comment frequently on Influencer pages to increase your following and become an Influencer yourself.
Google Hangouts provides a great place to get in touch with your customers and potential clients. Use Hangouts at weekly intervals for Q&A sessions or just for promoting your material. Using long-tail keywords as the topic also helps your Search Engine Optimization. Google Hangouts is one of the best features that sets Google+ apart from other social media – use it often!
Communities are also a great way to interact with clients and the industry at large. Creating a single “Home” community, as well as several smaller ones targeted towards specific audiences helps to target community bases and promote higher levels of involvement – which is the end-goal for all social media presence.
Finally, keep very close tabs on your follower growth. This is the aggregate effort of the previous steps, and is what will ultimately grow your business. Follow popular industry leaders, CEOs, and follow people from Popular posts. The goal is to encourage them to follow you by demonstrating that you’re knowledgeable and a subject matter expert.
However you use Google+, the main points to remember are to grow your audience, maintain a targeted market, and share pertinent content that has some relevance to your business. Non-relevant material may grow your base, but it ultimately may not provide conversation, and hence, revenue. Google+ isn’t just a fan page for your business; it should be treated as the social media growth engine that it can be, if used properly. Understanding social media as a revenue generator will often mean the difference between a neglectful approach and a significant increase in business.